Lana‘i City sits atop the island’s central plateau like the king of the hill. It’s the island’s only town. It has no traffic lights and doesn’t need them. All of the 3,200 island people live here.
It still looks much like the old agriculture town that it was when pineapple grew on the island. Small board buildings line the streets around Dole Park, where you can sit in the shade of towering Cook Island pines. Town festivals happen here, like the Pineapple Festival in July or Aloha Festival in fall. Delis, cafes, boutiques and galleries line the park, but many of the buildings are strictly for the town folk — a local supermarket, a center for Maui Community College, an art center, and a newly renovated movie theater.
The most unique structure is the old plantation-era jail, about the size of a shipping container where anyone incarcerated was visible to the whole town.
The Lodge at Ko‘ele, at the edge of town, has been closed since renovation began on the Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay. It’s golf course is also closed down at this time. But it’s expected to reopen as a Four Seasons destination spa and wellness center sometime in 2018.
If you want to explore the island, Lana‘i City is where you’ll by able to rent a four-wheel drive from Dollar Rent-a-Car. Or book with Rabaca Limousine to tour the island. It’s also where you can connect to the Munro Trail for hiking or exploring by Jeep..
The town also has plenty of interest for a day visit. The informative, well-done Lanai Culture and Heritage Center is worth an hour or two. If you want to spend the night, you may snag one of the 11 rooms at Hotel Lanai. If you want to get a feeling of what it’s like to live here, have dinner at Lanai City Bar and Grille in the hotel or breakfast at Blue Ginger Cafe. Everyone in town seems to come by these places. They’re friendly and they’ll share stories with you.